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Ruling party leader pledges to relocate National Assembly to Sejong

Sejong will become Korea’s political, administrative capital like Washington DC, Han Dong-hoon says

March 27, 2024 - 15:30 By Jung Min-kyung

Han Dong-hoon, the interim chief of the People Power Party, speaks in a press conference held at the party headquarters in western Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

The ruling party interim leader pledged Wednesday to relocate the National Assembly to the administrative city of Sejong to balance out the political power currently concentrated in the nation’s capital.

Han Dong-hoon, the interim chief of the People Power Party, revealed plans to push for “complete relocation of the National Assembly to Sejong to end an era of Yeouido politics,” in a press conference held some two weeks ahead of the April 10 legislative election. Yeouido, an island district located in western Seoul, has been the center of Korean politics since construction of the National Assembly was completed in 1975.

“We plan to (open the) National Assembly to the public, while lifting development restrictions in Yeouido and nearby areas to actively pursue development in Seoul,” he added.

Since 2021, the government has prepared to relocate the National Assembly to Sejong. A 631,000-square-meter plot of land in Sejong was allocated for the construction of the new headquarters of the country’s legislative body in 2022. The construction is slated to be completed by 2031.

“What we can promise is complete and total relocation of the National Assembly to Sejong, with the site prepared and the construction already scheduled,” Han explained.

“The relocation will resolve administrative inefficiency, promote the balanced development of different areas within the country, and bring about active growth of regional economies. Sejong will become a true capital of politics and administration much like Washington DC in the United States.”

With Yeouido and nearby areas, the ruling party seeks to lift the building height restriction of some 50 meters imposed on the area. Han claimed that such restrictions were held in place for purely aesthetic reasons.

“We plan to establish a financial infrastructure through redevelopment after lifting such authoritarian restrictions and the relocation of the National Assembly,” Han said.

“Then Yeouido will be able to grow into a financial hub that could compete with London, Singapore and Hong Kong.”

Following the relocation, the National Assembly could be renovated into an art gallery or a museum that could cater to the public, according to Han.

Han stressed that the relocation plan is also an attempt to pursue political reform, saying that his party “will bring an end to the Yeouido political culture which only gave birth to our peoples’ deeply-rooted mistrust of the National Assembly.”